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Hello. Me and a friend have used a acupuncturist in our are of Bristol. We are having trouble finding out if she has public liability. She calls herself Dr Lian Chen. 50 Hambrook Lane. BS34 8QD. Are you able to tell me please ?

We have searched our own database and the databases of several other associations in the UK and we have found no trace of a Lian Chen, nor anyone with a name which is similar. Had the person belonged to a professional body you could rest assured that they had proper professional indemnity cover. In the BAcC, for example, professional indemnity insurance is automatically provided within the annual membership subscription, so when we say that all of our members are fully insured we know this for certain. Some other organisations check the insurance every year, although it is up to the individual practitioner to obtain the deal that they prefer.

The only other way to check whether a practitioner is insured is to contact the local authority under whom the practitioner has to be licensed or registered. There is a piece of legislation called Local Government Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1982 under which all acupuncture practitioners have to register. Many local authorities check whether an incoming practitioner has proper insurance in place. We suspect that South Gloucestershire Council is the relevant authority for BS34, and a call to its Licensing Department or Environmental Health Department will put you in touch with someone who can tell you whether the person is properly registered. The only people who are exempt from registration are doctors and dentists. We have checked the GMC register and there is no Lian Chen currently registered. This almost certainly means that the title Dr refers to Chinese Medicine and is not a sign of a conventional medicine qualification. If this person is not a doctor then they will have to be registered. We have take the liberty of looking at the address you gave us on google streetview, and we have to say that it doesn't look like an acupuncture practice. However, since there is no trace of the practitioner on the internet it may well be someone who is working from home. We hope that this helps you to get hold of the information you need.